Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams: The Commuter. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Timothy Spall, Tuppence Middleton, Anthony Boyle, Rudi Dharmalingam, Rebecca Manley, Anna Reid, Hayley Squires, Tom Brooke.

We are all just passengers here, a short lived journey through Time, a fleeting preoccupation with the memories we create, the interaction we subject ourselves too in the search for happiness; sometimes it is all just too much and the lies and the truth of what have become jumbled, we wish for a time when being content is all consuming.

The search for happiness was arguably one that didn’t come all that often in the works of Philip K. Dick, the foreboding dystopia always one that offered more illumination that the quick easy smile, yet in The Commuter, the hunt for the unreal is positively engaging and makes the reality of life that ever more genuine.

Channel 4’s series Electric Dreams has been blessed with showing the short stories of Philip K. Dick in a year when the second Blade Runner film is due for its cinematic release, timing after all is everything when it comes to getting television viewers to venture to the box office, and whilst that may be a cynical angle in which to see the world, in many cases it is one that is apt.

The makers behind the series could not have captured the story any better than by placing it in the commuter belt of London’s satellite small towns, the sometimes forgotten places as they slowly get absorbed into the realms of Greater London’s ever sprawling tight grip. The missed opportunities to make a garden city exist, the chance to make lives better by being radical and far sighted with the way people live; this is how the life of the commuter should be shown.

Do you choose the life you have and the small love within it which you know is real or do you dream of escape, where everything is perfect, sanitised, deliberate and unconquerable; surely only one plane of existence is worthy of your Time.

With a majestic performance by Timothy Spall as the down at heel father of a boy with serious mental health issues and Tuppence Middleton portraying with quiet elegance a woman who can offer the world in exchange for all the hurt that went before, The Commuter is a slice of Philip K. Dick which haunts the dreams more than most; a delightful and endearing piece of television, one worthy of Philip K. Dick’s immortal name.

Ian D. Hall